Figures released last week show that passenger numbers on Southeastern fell by 2.4% in Jan-Mar 2018 compared with a year earlier.
Numerous explanations have been given. The “beast from the east ” resulted in service cuts and large drops in people travelling to work. Southeastern services were only two an hour on a few weekdays in March.
Indeed, when looking at the number of trains that operated there was a reduction in services of around 7% from 1.2 million kilometers to 1.1 million when comparing Q4 2017/18 to Q4 2016/17. That means that despite a 2.4% fall in passengers trains were still busier on average.
Other possible reasons for falls on a national level include a greater number of people working from home. Season Ticket fare rises ordered by the Department for Transport of 3.4% also occurred (and higher if using Oyster Pay As You Go).
The disastrous introduction of Thameslink services could hamper numbers in this quarter, though weekend services are now far improved from 2015-18 when London Bridge and Crossrail work saw many weekends disrupted.
A similar issue of passnger number reductions were seen in many areas over the past year. Thameslink and Southern issues have had a major impact, and South West Trains had strike action and closures of Waterloo station had a big impact. London Overground also saw the entire GOBLIN line closed from 1st-15th January.
Thameslink and Northern Rail’s current issues could have large long term repercussions as people give up on railways.
We’ll only be able to see the real fallout once services finally return to normal (and that’ll take many months) and engineering work on multiple lines conclude.
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